A very special preview screening of the SXSW premiered documentary Strange Negotiations from award winning filmmaker Brandon Vedder. The film takes an unconventionally poetic and personal approach to the music doc, exploring the spiritual, artistic and personal turmoil of David Bazan (Pedro the Lion) as he navigates his career and family-life after walking away from the foundational christian faith of his youth. This arc plays out as David tours an America that is in its own crisis of faith, highlighted by the 2016 presidential election.
David Bazan and Brandon Vedder will be in attendance for a post screening Q&A.
Hey! Just so you knowâ€¦ “Phoenix sounds incredible on vinyl! It was recorded to analog tape and mastered by one of the greatest mastering engineers of all-time, Bernie Grundman (look him up). We spread the songs out across three sides on high quality black 180g vinyl. By spreading the songs out over three sides, we were able to achieve higher fidelity, more dynamic range and an overall better sounding album. Side four is an etching of a map of Phoenix AZ (Don’ret try to play side four on your turntable. You’rell be very disappointed). Then the always incredible Jessie LeDoux came up the art concept and designed a beautiful package using photos David shot in and around his Grandparent’s house Phoenix. The iconic photo of the band in the studio used on the inside gatefold is by our favorite photographer, Ryan Russell. We couldn’ret be happier about how the whole thing turned out. Special shoutout to the fine folks at Polyvinyl Records for the support and letting us do exactly what we wanted to every step of the way. We hope you enjoy the album as much as we enjoyed making it.
You can buy Phoenix directly from Undertow Music Collective. We have it in stock and ready for immediate shipping. All orders get instant full-album download in MP3 and hi-res WAV formats.
We’rere super excited about getting back out on tour in February to support our new album Phoenix. Tickets are on sale now and going quickly. Please don’ret delay. We don’ret want you to miss the show. And please come out early to see Tomberlin. Her new album is super good!
“I’ve made music under many brand names. It was a dumb idea,” David Bazan jokes during his performance at the Tiny Desk, in his own particularly reflective and self-deprecating way. You can find that music filed under his previous “brands” or incarnations as Headphones, Lo Tom (with TW Walsh and members of Starflyer 59) and his own name. But here Bazan returns to the one that first gave him voice: Pedro the Lion, a name he now says he intends to keep.
No matter how dark or disastrous, there’s always been an undercurrent of grace to the music of David Bazan. Even in his most righteous anger, empathy seeps through. “When They Really Get to Know You They Will Run” opens the Tiny Desk set with sparse instrumentation â€” Erik Walters on guitar, Bazan on bass, Sean Lane on brushes and snare â€” not unlike performances of yesteryear, when slyly clever-yet-quiet riffs put Bazan’s sardonic wit front and center. Twenty years after being released on Pedro the Lion’s debut album, It’s Hard to Find a Friend, the cheeky song about hypocrisy (exposing the toxic male gaze through double standards of beauty) still rings painfully true.
Bazan then introduces “Yellow Bike,” from Pedro the Lion’s forthcoming Phoenix, as “cheeky in a different way.” With a hiccuping rhythm that rolls like a Tom Petty joint down uncertain roads, Bazan recounts the thrill found in childhood bike rides, and the somewhat terrifying price of freedom that accompanies onset adulthood.
So what about all of those songs released as “David Bazan” from the past decade? Those are now Pedro the Lion songs! That includes “Kept Secrets,” originally released on 2016’s Blanco. Its slow, doleful sway closed out the Tiny Desk with a hidden hope washed in snow, “white with ocean foam.”